I wrote a blog on the leadership and whether leaders are proprietors or partners? An avid reader of my blogs has suggested that I should also write about the staff or team members and what bosses expect from them ?
I love cartoon strip Blondie and Dagwood is my favourite character because in a way he’s like me – understated, hard pressed, taken for granted but above all a simpleton to the core! In today’s episode his boss asks him in the morning whether he will handle contracts or reports? Dagwood doesn’t make a choice, leaving it to the boss, who dumps both the chores on him! Ask Dagwood whom he hates the most in his life and his reply will be “Bumstead”. Dagwood treats Bumstead like a real pain and treats him like a monster. Bumstead allows no raise, always feel that Dagwood is underworked and overpaid, doesn’t like his employees taking refreshment breaks and laments about the company’s ability to afford “so many” and “such expensive” employees. This beautifully sums up the expectations that a boss has from his team – do more work, come cheap, shoulder full responsibility, don’t ask for help or additional hands or promotions and be thankful for your job and salary as there are hundreds more waiting to grab your desk should you behave protestingly !
Jokes and comics apart, I have had the good fortune of working with the bosses of varied styles- some were very strict, a few other tough task masters, some very easy to access but a few very exclusive and reserved, some very generous while a few close fisted! However, I feel doubly lucky to be a part of an institutionally run organisation rather than a proprietary concern for this has given me an opportunity to work for the organisation rather than any boss! Also, my fair assessment based on donkeys years of experience is that people largely are not inhuman or unreasonable (though at times their expectations could be) and that if one does his chores sincerely, honestly and ably, one seldom hits a roadblock irrespective of the boss or his nature or his style!
No wonder Bhagvad Gita is now considered the best management book and in one sloka, it encompasses the gist of the work ethics and relationships that’s so oft quoted by me in my blogs but I can’t help but to quote it again for its purity and relevance that reads:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.
Bosses provide their vision and leadership but it’s also a fact that they come and go. Organisations survive generations of bosses and so do employees who give their best and take full responsibility and ownership. Lores shall remain replete with the marquee thoughts of boss- employee relationship and Dagwood-Bumstead saga will continue to tickle the funny bone of readers for generations, but seen in the light of Bhagvad’s teaching it’s not all that tough as it seems!